Ishmael, the narrator, announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling vessel. He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler. Since the inn is rather full, he has to share a bed with a harpooner from the South Pacific named Queequeg. They take a ferry to Nantucket, the traditional capital of the whaling industry. There they secure berths on the Pequod, a savage-looking ship adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales.
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Moby Dick by Cliffs Notes Staff (1966, Trade Paperback, Revised edition)
Moby Dick by Cliffs Notes Staff (, Trade Paperback, Revised edition) for sale online | eBay
The novel is named after Moby Dick because he is the center of Ahab's obsession and a key figure in his own right. The White Whale's appearance is unique. He is an exceptionally large sperm whale with a snow-white head, wrinkled brow, crooked jaw, and an especially bushy spout. His hump is also white and shaped like a pyramid; the rest of his body is marbled with white. He has three holes in the right fluke of his tail, and he fantails oddly before he submerges. The White Whale seems to have an almost human personality, featuring the battle savvy of a bold general. One of his favorite tricks is to seem to be fleeing from hunters but suddenly turn to attack and destroy their open boats.
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CliffsNotes on Melville's Moby-Dick
In CliffsNotes on Moby-Dick, you follow along this great American novel; the turbulent and adventurous story of a sea captain's obsession with a white whale. This study guide shares a story about defiance, friendship, duty, and death -- all immersed in symbolism, such as the white whale, itself. You'll gain comfort with the dark and complicated plot as you move through critical commentaries on each of the novel's chapters.
This observant young man from Manhattan has been to sea four times in the merchant service but yearns for a whaling adventure. On a cold, gloomy night in December, he arrives at the Spouter-Inn in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and agrees to share a bed with a stranger. Both men are alarmed when the bunkmate, a heavily tattooed Polynesian harpooner named Queequeg, returns late and discovers Ishmael beneath his covers. But the two soon become good friends and decide to sail together from the historical port of Nantucket. In Nantucket, they sign on with the Pequod , Queequeg the more attractive employee due to his excellence with the harpoon.